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Blood for diamonds
Tuesday. 12.12.06 1:21 pm

Conflict Diamonds Today

The wars in Angola and Sierra Leone have ended. The political situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is fragile, and diamonds may be fuelling some of the instability, but there are no major pockets of conflict diamonds.
Liberia’s long and terrible war has also ended, but the country remains under a UN diamond embargo. With assistance from international agencies and companies, Liberia is currently developing a diamond monitoring system in accordance with Kimberley Process standards. It is expected that the UN sanctions will be lifted in 2007 and that Liberia will join the Kimberley Process once a review team has inspected its new controls.

The only major source of conflict diamonds at present is in the rebel-held areas of northern Côte d’Ivoire. An October 2006 UN report stated that as much as $23 million worth of conflict diamonds has been entering the legitimate diamond pipeline from Côte d’Ivoire, some of it smuggled through Ghana. The November 2006 Kimberley Process Plenary meeting agreed on several courses of action with the government of Ghana:

* For a three month period, all Ghanaian diamond exports will be inspected by an independent diamond expert provided by the World Diamond Council, to ascertain origin;
* Ghana will revise all of its internal control procedures, including the licensing of diggers, dealers and exporters;
* A data base of Ghana’s known diamond resources will be drawn up for comparison against exports from Ghana;
* A Kimberley Process Review Team will visit Ghana in February 2007 to review the findings and the new control systems, with a view to endorsing them or taking further action.

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